Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tang Soo Do

At the start of every semester the clubs put on a club fair and members from the SGA clubs have informational tables set up so that students can learn about the different options for extra curricular activities and professional organizations that they may want to participate in.  This semester Matt decided to join the Tang Soo Do club so that he and Carina would have the opportunity to introduce Carina to the martial arts that were so important to him growing up.

After developing their skills for the last month and a half they were both ready to test for their yellow belts. 

And Ms. Carina received a medal for the best tester under ten.  She showed indomitable spirit and perseverance during her testing and has made tremendous progress in the short time she has been training.  Her pride and smile were contagious.  
I wish I had better pictures but it turns out Belt testing and a 19 month old do not mix well.  But they both did a great job and have really enjoyed this time together. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Art and Beach fun

The proud artist in front of her work

Paper Weaving

Here Tropical Bird

I think we need to discuss artfully signing her work

 I love that Carina is artistic and I look forward to returning to the states where we can utilize all of the resources for different media.

We also recently went to Batibou Beach which is very beautiful.  Don't believe all the hype about rapes and robberies you just need a guild who will only extort you but they bring booze.

 Then we went to the pool for a bit.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


I have a distinct memory of ridding in the backseat of my parents car, I must have been about Carina's age, looking up in the sky and wondering which cloud it was that God was sitting on at that very moment watching his world.  I remember silent prayers I would make asking for things like my best friend Rachel to be able to come out and play and making deals that I would give up gum forever if I just got the new cabbage patch doll for my birthday.  I had a very limited knowledge about God and all his workings at that point.  I do not every recall going to church, other then for funerals and weddings with my parents.  I did however go to Awana with a friend when I was little as well as LDS services as a teen.  I liked playing games and singing songs at Awana and I liked the dances that the LDS church put on for the teens.  I think most of my early God education came from my best friend Rachel who was Catholic.  We would giggle about how her dad was a Priest until a cute young southern belle came waltzing into his church one day.  The Southern bell was of course her mother and was 12 years younger then he.  He sold insurance, smoked a pipe, and beat his kids asses for the most mundane things.  We were friends for six years but that is all I really remember about him.  It was my first exposure to religion and child abuse going hand in hand.  Her mom was sweet, caring and very girly.  She let us play with her make up and dress up in her clothes.

One of my very close friends in Junior high was Mormon and his dad was a monster he beat the kids and his wife and they had a trampoline and a camper that the kids would sneak off into to have sex.

I had a couple of Jewish friends as a kid as well.

I knew at the time that there was a God and that there were different religions but had no idea what the difference was between Catholics, Christians, Mormons or Jews.  Well I knew Jews celebrated Hanukkah, Mormons and Catholics weren't suppose to use birth control though my Mormon friend's parents sure had a big box of condoms.  But other then these few exceptions most of the people in my life were not overly religious and I never bothered to educate myself about the bible.

In high school I learned about the Holocaust and my vague belief in God was gone.  There was no way no how there was a higher being who had the capacity to intercede in our lives who sat idly by while people were rounded up and  put to death because they didn't fit one man's image of perfection. There really are so many examples such as what the Christian's did to the Indians when they came to America and then continued doing when they stole Indian children from their people and tried to indoctrinate them into their ways of being and believing.  Where is this almighty God while children are raped and beaten?  Why does God allow babies to develop inside their mothers womb only to die in her arms immediately following their birth? Why does God allow babies to be born with horrible birth defects that make their lives a daily misery? If there is a god he idly sits by while all these atrocities happen with the knowledge they are going to happen and having the ability intercede and does nothing, or he is not all powerful and all knowing and therefore everything we know of God from the bible is complete bullshit.

For the most part my understanding of this world has rarely clashed with the religious people.  Most people I knew in Oregon talked about their religion more as a part of what made up their culture.  I think this is what religion does best, it gives people a sense of community and customs that unite them with others.  However there have been a few incidences where other's belief in a mystical sky daddy has caused conflict and ended relationships. I wont take full responsibility but I also wont deny that I played a role in these dissolution's.  Whatever feelings I had about the relationship ending were quickly vanquished by the overwhelming relief that I could be genuine in my life.  I no longer had to bite my tongue when someone would say how God is good or he works in mysterious ways.

The way that people are thanking god for saving them from the Oklahoma tornadoes right now is sick.  How can anyone be so self rightness to believe that god spared them and stood idly by while children were killed.  What makes you feel so entitled to god's salvation while innocent children are killed, maimed and left parent-less.

I was really looking forward to coming to Ross University and being surrounded by educated people who undoubtedly had cast off their belief in God as many children do of their belief in Santa.  Certainly those going into medicine would have to recognize the absurdity of the God of the bible.  Finally we could live amongst people who were realist and who's children wouldn't chastise my child for her lack of belief.  I could not have been more wrong.  The Ross Christian Fellowship, the Ross Catholic student association, Hindu Student Council, Jewish student association, Muslim student association, Sikh student association and Ross Adventist Fellowship.  I don't know why there isn't a LDS group, they think they are Christians but the Christians don't think they are.   My one question for all of these people is how do you go to class learn about the horrid afflictions of newborns and the evolutionary evidence that is our bodies and still believe in your religion that does nothing to explain the complex world in which we live it.  The very nature of your studies is in direct contradiction to your belief in an all powerful all loving God.  If there was a God who you could pray to to heal the sick and it worked you'd be out of a job.

I guess it bugs me so much because these are obviously educated people who use logic and reasoning to get to where they are today with the exception of the existence of  a god.  Worse over is those who thank god for getting them to medical school as if their hard work and dedication had nothing to do with it.  I have no doubt all of the students here worked their asses off to get to where they are today.  I suppose this makes it easier when they fail, they can attribute it to being part of god's plan rather then the anything they did or didn't do to contribute to their failure.  Nearly 30  percent of Matt's class failed this last semester and I know many were religious.  I know for some their religion has gotten in the way, there are a majority of Mormons (I honestly don't know about person's of other faiths) who take Sunday off from studying.  I can tell you one thing, Matt has never taken an entire day off from studying while school is in session.  Weekends are for reviewing, reviewing the material is key to retaining the mass of knowledge they are cramming into their brains.  Of course there are just as many reasons one fails as there are those who fail and it really never is just one thing.

I want to be clear, I think the vast majority of people in general find a balance between their irrational belief in God and functioning in their day to day life.  However, I think of these people who believe in God as like Mystique from Xmen when Mystique is trying to suppress her natural state and thus doing so was not being as great as she could be.  As you can see in this preview for the movie  The mental gymnastics must be exhausting. So I know this will be offensive to some who might read this, and for that I am truly sorry.  But at least I don't believe in slavery, torture for one's beliefs, eternal suffering, murder, mutilation of my child's body, abuse nor discrimination.  With the exception of mutilating your child, most religious people don't either. Which proves the point that your morality surpasses that of your God and the "good book".

Monday, February 4, 2013

Well that is odd

Things I find odd so far about this island:
1) They drive like gas is 9 cents a gallon verses the $9 is actually is.
2) The lack of pride that they take in their land, liter is everywhere.
3) They speak English but it is unlike any English I have heard
4) Pants
5) If you drop a seed it takes here yet, local fresh juice, vegetables and fruit are hard to come by and/or expensive.
6) The locals are not overly hospitable to the medical students and their families.
7) Loading my children into a van where no one wears seat belts.
8) Chickens are everywhere yet eggs are spendy.
9) The women are fat and the men are all skinny. Okay not every one of them, but in general.  
10) Fault in an automobile accident is determined by who has the most money.
11) "Trials" consist of the victim and the perpetrator returning to the scene of the crime where both parties discuss what happened.  Then the victim is allowed to ruff up the defendant.  
12) Childbirth is done under general sedation.( reason 107 that I will not be having a baby here)
13) Clothes get dirtier in the washing machine
14) Dishes get dirtier after hand washing them
15) Fruits and vegetables come in and out of season.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Living Simply

You know that game you played when you are younger where you and your friends say what you would take if you were going to be stranded on a dessert island?  Packing to come here was exactly like that.  As it turns out  I would bring a lot of clothes that were whittled down to the bare necessities several times, my Cuisinart food processor and blender, cupcake pans, battery charger plus batteries, lots and lots of assorted over the counter medications and as much of the kids vitamins I could gather, toys for the kids and medical school supplies.  Everything else was donated to Goodwill, Salvation Army, ARC or the community Warehouse.  There were keepsakes that got distributed amongst my parents, brother and Carina's grandma.  I did not realize just how much stuff we had acquired in that house in the ten years I lived there. Going through everything in that home taught me a lot about what really matters.  I would recommend it to everyone, pretend you have limited space and examine everything in your home, does it have a function, have you used it reasonably recently and does it have a place?  If you cant answer yes to all the questions then consider letting it go.  I am not advising discarding things with honest to goodness sentimental value, I can't think of what function Carina's second lost tooth will every have but it made it's way into the"please mom and dad store this stuff for me" pile.  I more mean do you need a handbag to go with every pair of shoes?  Do you need pants that haven't fit you in 10 years?  Do you really need 4 T.V.'s?  I found that as I shed items from my house my life was less complicated I simply had less to clean and put back or find a place for.  A huge huge issue for me was toys, not mine but Carina's she had very literally a room full of toys when she really only reads books, plays on her computer or draws, all of the things she really used would fit in a 12 x 12 box.  But for a lot of reason's that I am not going to go into in this post I have piled toys on her.  More then she certainly could manage which meant I cleaned her room because she really couldn't.   I'd given her to much stuff to manage.  I also realized two days before my plan was set to leave Portland that I was way to attached to my clothes.  I made several edits in the clothes I packed over the 12 days we spent in Texas, enough to free an entire suitcase for toys for the kids.

Now living on this island I realize even more so what I can live without. We have no car, hot water only in the bathroom, no dishwasher, no clothes dryer, a propane stove and oven, just barely enough flat wear and dishes to eat a meal, and a couple of cutting boards and knives. It took a week of shopping to get enough food in the house that I am not in complete panic every time my kids look at me with hungry eyes.  Every time I think to complain I just remember, there are those who have less, our neighbor has no running water and no electricity.  He lives entirely off his land.  Because we have less it has given us the time to engage with each other rather then engage with our stuff in proximity to each other.